Three in 10 children are now drawing scientists as women, The Washington Post reported.
A study conducted in 1983 showed that fewer than one percent of the students drew a female scientist. Now, that number is up to 30 percent. The rise is attributed to a decrease in stereotypes surrounding scientists, Western Michigan University communications professor Jocelyn Steinke said. Ecologist Jane Zelikova said the stereotype of scientists being “stale, pale and male” is finally starting to disintegrate.
Younger children were more likely to draw female scientists than older children, the research showed. This may be due to the fact that younger children had not yet learned the gender stereotypes surrounding scientists.
Media can also help reinforce stereotypes. Shows like The Big Bang Theory are mentioned as resigning female scientists to stereotypically female STEM fields like biology. However, movies like Black Panther’s Shuri, a black woman running her own science lab, can help break down those conceptions.